Tuesday, November 15, 2016


the wind pushed my back. water-based birds sailed overhead. i passed more birdwatchers with very long lenses and full heads of hair. they laughed as they talked. something called to us, on our stretch of toronto thrust out into the lake, and we all seemed to look up at the same time, at the same thing. the moon hovered just above the water. i looked over my shoulder and saw the sun as it soaked the lake and sky with the same dying orange. i picked up my pace like i could outrun the night. i ran toward the moon. she rose, like she always does, calmly and with serene indifference. do not swear by the inconstant moon. run.

that was sunday. monday night, i ran like a coursing thing, chasing unknown friends down milky grey gravel paths out, out into the lake. nothing flew overhead except those small planes coming in from ottawa to land on the island. fallen stars that took a long time to drop. i ran underneath them. i ran next to weeds that reached out to touch my elbow. i ran next to the lake pounding the rubble-strewn shore. all i could hear was gravel under my feet. all i was listening for was friends.

i found them, eventually, coming down from a break at the lighthouse, and we embraced and laughed at my frantic pursuit. then we kept running. we talked about great canadian novels and infant oncology and getting lost. we ran on. the moon kept watch. in that light, we were all young.

then it was tea and cookies and the last crumbs of conversations. we ran back to the gate. it was miles of darkness that felt like minutes. like hours in life are seconds in dreams. like kisses never last long enough.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


the road bends before the top, hiding its summit around rock cuts and green tractor mailboxes. the hill is barely a hill. it is not long, nor steep, nor anything of any particular note, except that it must always be gotten up, always at the end of the run or ride, always into the wind. i trudged on in the gravel, thinking about this. this hill has been with me for most of my life, it has never let me down, and it has always let me know exactly who i am.

i have listened to six different versions of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in the past hour. i wanted one to bring me tears. i wanted so badly to sit in front of my laptop, plugged into my earbuds, and to let warm saltwater drip down my face. there is so much to be sad about. and even though the country where i was born chose a buffoon to lead them to failure. and even though Leonard Cohen left us all behind last week. and even though daylight savings can't fix the encroaching darkness, the line that filled my eyes to overflowing was the one about love, and lost love, and love from long ago that is no more. it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah. hallelujah.

i saw my grandparents this weekend. they looked spry. they looked like the people who were around for 80 years doing the right thing. they looked tired from it, but mostly satisfied if even still a bit hungry for more. always fighters, those ones. and i picked up my daughter today. she looked tired. she looked like the kind of kid who gives it all, every time, all the time, and might need a bit of a break. i made her chicken and rice and peas and sent her to bed. she will fight again tomorrow. and all of the days after that.

the words don't come to me like they used to. i was undone by Leonard Cohen's, as he never lost his touch, he never blocked it all up with a bunch of crap, or sent it down the same old worn-in groove. his were the words we used every day, just said better, or even sung. maybe if i could course them through my heart i could make love without the cold and broken hallelujah.